Don Quixote (book review)

From The Movie Snob

Don Quixote (translated by Edith Grossman, 2003). This new translation got very good reviews when it came out, so I finally decided to bite the bullet and try to read this 940-page classic of Western literature. Somewhat to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the story of Alonso Quixano, a Spanish gentleman living in the early 1600’s who goes insane after reading endless books about chivalry and knights errant. In his delusion, he believes that he himself is a famous knight errant, Don Quixote of La Mancha, and, after persuading a good-natured peasant named Sancho Panza to be his squire, he sallies forth into all sorts of misadventures. He believes that windmills are evil giants and attempts to battle with them. He mistakes inns for castles, flocks of sheep for armies, and a puppet show for reality. And whenever his delusions get him in trouble and leave him battered and bruised, he blames unseen wicked enchanters who are always plotting his downfall. I don’t know Spanish, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translation, but I can say that Grossman’s translation is very readable, although the diction is much more elaborate and baroque than we are used to today. Warmly recommended.


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